The Morrison Government is ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students receiving ABSTUDY who are boarding have financial support to travel home during emergencies.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said students would now be able to access their Fares Allowance entitlements during emergencies events outside their control such as natural disasters and pandemic lockdowns.
“COVID-19 lockdowns and natural disasters in 2020 and 2021 meant that boarding students had to travel to and from school outside their normal arrangements. In some cases this left their families anxious about ensuring their children could return home safely,” Minister Ruston said.
“This change means we can act quickly to ensure students are financially supported to travel home or to another safe location in the case of an emergency and return to school when it is safe.”
“ABSTUDY recipients may also be supported in emergencies to cover essential expenses such as the replacement of school books and equipment or other personal belongings.”
ABSTUDY supports around 4,500 secondary boarding students each year and around 1,900 other dependent, mostly tertiary students studying away from home.
Fares Allowance covers travel costs to and from the study location for eligible students who need to live away from home to study. Services Australia can book the travel or reasonable costs can be reimbursed.
The cost is variable depending on location and remoteness, for example it can range from a single bus trip to a complex multi leg journey.
“These provisions continue our commitment to supporting First Nations students to get the best start in life through a successful education,” Minister Ruston said.
Services Australia will assess eligibility on a case-by-case basis. For more information and to check eligibility, visit servicesaustralia.gov.au/ABSTUDY.